# 29326


[PANDEMICS] Report of Case of Infectious Disease (Diphtheria). (Melbourne, June 1919).

$100.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

[Melbourne : Government printer, 1919]. Proforma document, 240 x 150 mm, headed ‘Report of Case of Case of Infectious Disease to the Municipality’, with manuscript entries made by Dr. J. Davis, Church Street, Richmond dated 3 June 1919, reporting a case of diphtheria in a patient named Elsie Smith, aged 23 years, a clerk residing at 431 Swan Street Richmond, who has had systems for 5 days; verso with printed address panel ‘The Town Clerk [OR] Shire Secretary, Richmond [in ms.]’; the completed form was folded and mailed by the doctor to the Richmond Council, where it was endorsed ‘Entered 7-10-15’; a very good, clean example.

From the 1850s, the dreaded bacterial disease diphtheria had been one of the leading causes of infant mortality in all of the Australian colonies. The death rate amongst very small children, in particular, was shockingly high: in South Australia in 1883, for example, the Central Board of Health reported that diphtheria had killed 1,627 infants, a rate of 145 deaths in the first year for every 1,000 live births. Not until 1932 would diphtheria cases drop to nearly zero in Australia following the introduction of a school-based vaccination program.